GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson says his philosophy in policing is putting community first.  

Under that leadership, the department works with community partners like Beyond Sports to improve the relationship between police officers and the people they serve and protect.  

All too often, officers arrive at a situation that could be the scariest moment of someone’s life, and children are involved.  

It can be as simple as shooting some hoops. It can be a distraction, a way to bond and a source of hope.  

“Sometimes, they don’t want to deal with us or it’s the worst situation in their lives,” Lt. Jason Randazzo said.  

Greensboro police officers often respond to calls where people are living a nightmare.  

“So many people, and children … are sometimes scared of us due to maybe their environment,” Officer PB Lane said.

Lane was one of 30 officers who participated in a pilot program in July. She carried a bag of sports gear in her squad car.  

“We had some soccer balls, basketballs that we gave out a few weeks ago,” Lane said.  

Officers can give out the sports gear to children at one of their calls or if they spot a kid in need on patrol.  

“A lot of times we’ll go to a domestic or we’ll just see some kids playing in a park, and they don’t have any sporting equipment,” Randazzo said.  

Officers say it’s already made a big impact. 

“It just brings joy to my heart for them to see me in a different light,” Lane said. 

It was so successful that the program is growing. 100 more bundles of sports equipment were distributed to Greensboro police thanks to Beyond Sports.  

“What we really hope is that a child’s first experience with an officer could be a really positive one,” said Mike Kennedy, cofounder of Beyond Sports.  

The crews who loaded the cruisers said they want to help people develop positive relationships with police as early as possible.  

“It just breaks down so many barriers and can put a smile on their face,” Kennedy said.

It puts a smile on officer’s faces, too.  

“Officers will drive around, see some kids playing at a park, jump out, throw the football with them, shoot some hoops,” Randazzo said.  

The ability to give back, toss a ball and help kids in crisis rewards officers in more ways than one.


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“I’ve been here 18 years, and it’s one of the most joyful moments, getting to build relationships with children,” Randazzo said.  

Beyond Sports, Columbia Forest Products, NC Youth Soccer and the North Carolina Youth Sports Association worked together on the program. 

They are also planning to make a donation to the Winston-Salem Police Department next week, so they’ll have sports equipment bundles to share with that community, too.